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Village Astronomy

Brian Watkiss is TheVillage's resident amateur astronomer, watching the night skies from various places around the area, sometimes on his way back from the pub! Browse the archive of his monthly reports here.

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Tale of two eclipses
Posted on July 31 2017 at 10:16:42

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Spica’s brightness
Posted on June 30 2017 at 12:31:46

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Spot the satellite
Posted on May 30 2017 at 3:23:10

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Of kites and comets
Posted on April 30 2017 at 10:40:13

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Large and small
Posted on March 30 2017 at 12:54:42

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Giant of the skies
Posted on February 27 2017 at 12:37:22

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Greek legends meet in February’s big sky
Posted on January 30 2017 at 3:35:08

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

See two full moons for the price of one!
Posted on December 28 2016 at 2:04:56

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Supermoon rides high
Posted on November 28 2016 at 1:12:40

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Distant galaxy on view
Posted on October 31 2016 at 2:11:07

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Dark nights perfect for planet-spotting
Posted on October 03 2016 at 10:35:05

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Mysterious mists of our Milky Way
Posted on August 30 2016 at 3:40:22

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Shooting stars and diamonds in the sky
Posted on July 31 2016 at 1:58:26

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Flares back in fashion!
Posted on June 27 2016 at 12:24:26

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Stars out in force as Tim touches down
Posted on May 30 2016 at 10:54:51

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Meteors and Mercury brighten May nights
Posted on April 30 2016 at 1:45:32

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Join the club and look for Mercury
Posted on March 31 2016 at 11:23:36

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Following the many faces of the Moon
Posted on February 29 2016 at 3:26:14

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Size matters in solar system and beyond
Posted on January 31 2016 at 10:23:41

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Reward for early risers
Posted on December 23 2015 at 1:42:43

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Tim to take off as alien light shines
Posted on November 30 2015 at 1:05:37

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Rise early to view a trio of planets
Posted on November 02 2015 at 1:06:58

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Find Pluto and pals
Posted on September 29 2015 at 2:47:04

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Rare event will leave the Moon red-faced
Posted on September 01 2015 at 3:25:20

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Stay up to see Saturn
Posted on July 28 2015 at 3:11:38

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Serpents in the sky
Posted on June 28 2015 at 11:53:16

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Light night delights
Posted on May 28 2015 at 3:38:54

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Venus to brighten up spring evenings
Posted on April 29 2015 at 9:52:34

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Brightest and best
Posted on March 30 2015 at 11:15:12

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Eclipse excitement
Posted on February 28 2015 at 11:56:23

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Why February is short but special
Posted on February 01 2015 at 2:22:24

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

It’s a happy new year for planet spotters. . .
Posted on December 30 2014 at 2:19:02

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Starry treats brighten the darkest of months
Posted on November 27 2014 at 11:13:25

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

See a story in the sky
Posted on October 25 2014 at 11:10:03

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Autumn constellations
Posted on September 29 2014 at 3:20:07

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Black holes and teapots
Posted on September 03 2014 at 12:01:43

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Sights worth staying up for
Posted on July 25 2014 at 9:53:12

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

See the Summer Triangle
Posted on June 29 2014 at 3:16:33

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

The beautiful planet
Posted on May 27 2014 at 1:26:17

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Red Planet high in the sky
Posted on April 22 2014 at 1:10:15

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Look out for lunar eclipse,  meteors and spacecraft
Posted on March 22 2014 at 10:21:06

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

In search of fuzzy blobs
Posted on February 22 2014 at 12:48:12

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

A month with the Moon
Posted on January 26 2014 at 1:29:31

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Excitement in the sky
Posted on November 30 2013 at 12:11:20

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

The whole of the moon
Posted on October 22 2013 at 1:52:22

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Watching the Milky Way
Posted on September 21 2013 at 1:00:34

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Summer triangle time
Posted on August 20 2013 at 12:59:59

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

My glass is half full
Posted on June 30 2013 at 1:10:44

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

The moon illusion
Posted on May 22 2013 at 11:24:19

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Line of the zodiac
Posted on April 20 2013 at 1:10:17

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Lost in translation
Posted on March 20 2013 at 3:15:33

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

How to find a comet
Posted on February 19 2013 at 10:46:17

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Sky of superlatives
Posted on January 20 2013 at 1:49:38

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Three planets line up for a fine festive view
Posted on November 23 2012 at 1:53:07

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Thank your lucky stars
Posted on October 21 2012 at 1:10:56

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Get to know Cassiopeia
Posted on September 19 2012 at 3:00:24

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Friends of the stars
Posted on August 18 2012 at 10:17:25

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Shining skies
Posted on June 28 2012 at 11:37:19

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Planets in transit
Posted on May 22 2012 at 2:33:26

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Martians and Titans
Posted on April 22 2012 at 2:30:00

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Planets dance into Spring
Posted on March 20 2012 at 3:32:17

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Magical sights in the skies
Posted on February 21 2012 at 11:07:55

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Enjoy a battle of the planets
Posted on January 20 2012 at 2:22:22

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Exciting time for stargazers
Posted on November 26 2011 at 2:21:01

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Check out another galaxy
Posted on October 21 2011 at 1:15:06

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Not so dim, after all
Posted on September 24 2011 at 11:16:31

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

High-speed village
Posted on August 22 2011 at 1:31:48

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Get to know the sky
Posted on July 21 2011 at 2:48:18

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Strawberry moon
Posted on May 22 2011 at 1:19:39

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Weird world of Saturn
Posted on April 14 2011 at 12:59:11

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Shuttling into history
Posted on March 21 2011 at 3:45:06

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Dog days in the sky
Posted on February 23 2011 at 2:53:33

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peersinto the Village night sky.

A busy time in space
Posted on January 18 2011 at 1:06:49

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

A winter wonderland
Posted on November 28 2010 at 3:14:17

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Get your binoculars out
Posted on October 23 2010 at 12:12:19

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Well, Comet 103P Hartley never became as spectacular as I had hoped; In fact I never really got a good view of it at all. This was because it had a tiny nucleus surrounded by a thin cloud of dust and gas which was never as bright as the sky glow from the lights of Birmingham. Oh for less light pollution. A space probe called ‘Deep Impact’ will be making a close pass to this comet soon, so look out for pictures in the press . . .

Jupiter’s moons on view
Posted on September 30 2010 at 10:16:41

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

October and at the start of the month, it’s dark at about half past eight but by the end, it’s dark by half past six! Yes, I know this is half due to the clocks going back in the early hours of the 31st but it also shows how quickly the nights draw in at this time of year . . .

UFOs over the Lickeys!
Posted on August 27 2010 at 3:23:58

What's this coming over the hills . . ?

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

I hope you all had a great summer, watching for satellites and meteors. I had a couple of reports of mysterious orange lights flying in formation across the sky. Had to disappoint the observers by informing them that they hadn’t seen UFOs but merely Chinese lanterns, released at a wild party in the village, early in July.

Shooting stars
Posted on June 30 2010 at 2:28:29

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Spot the satellite
Posted on May 17 2010 at 11:19:29

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

The parallax view
Posted on April 22 2010 at 1:24:01

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Planet-spotting in April
Posted on April 02 2010 at 12:43:30

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

April, and it’s starting to get dark really late now. However, more planets are on view now than any other time this year . . .

When a year is a distance
Posted on February 22 2010 at 9:30:28

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Spot the red giants
Posted on January 13 2010 at 10:48:28

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

A special full moon
Posted on November 25 2009 at 10:05:35

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Tools of the trade
Posted on October 23 2009 at 12:15:35

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Dark side’s 50 years
Posted on September 18 2009 at 2:55:04

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Bright star is Jupiter
Posted on August 15 2009 at 1:04:15

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Chart the changing faces of the Moon
Posted on June 17 2009 at 3:01:33

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Perfect time to see stars of the satellite world
Posted on May 22 2009 at 2:43:02

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Take a long look at our ever-changing universe
Posted on May 01 2009 at 7:49:01

Summer is almost here, as you can tell by the fact that it doesn’t get dark till gone ten o’clock. Looking south west soon after dark, Leo dominates the sky, with Saturn still obvious underneath, although Saturn is not as bright as usual this year because its rings are virtually edge on to us.

Plough a path to Polaris – our friend in the north
Posted on April 01 2009 at 7:53:14

The beginning of March brought us the comet Lulin, which was predicted to be just visible with the naked eye. Well, I don’t think it ever reached that brightness, even with dark, clear skies; and nowhere near in the light-polluted sky over Alvechurch. It was just visible through binoculars and I managed to grab a photo of sorts (below) but then comets are notoriously unpredictable.

The fun of finding your ‘sign’ among the stars
Posted on March 01 2009 at 7:05:23

With Venus disappearing into the sunset, another bright object appears low in the south during March. This is Sirius, the brightest star you can see and one of the closest to us at a mere 6.8 light years. It is a very hot star, twice as big as our sun and very blue.

That bright light is Venus
Posted on January 18 2009 at 4:11:01

Amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss peers into the Village night sky.

Lure of the sky at night
Posted on January 17 2009 at 3:49:34

Alvechurch amateur astronomer Brian Watkiss explains what makes him spend so much time staring into the night.

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